December 16, 1998 – Wednesday – 10:09 p.m.

I called Sharon tonight and I spoke with her and Hannah.  Sharon’s dad died suddenly last Thursday.  She loves me so greatly, for even in her time of loss she gave me so much.  It overwhelms me to think that God loves me so much more than Sharon does.

You know… I have always thought that I had grand dreams and great goals, but I think that just this moment, after talking with Sharon and reliving memories with Hannah, those memories of our walks to Snowflake Inn and summer evenings of catching fireflies, I think I’ve already fulfilled the dreams I knew nothing of.  As I look back on myself now, it seems that little blonde-haired boy was always dreaming of the moment when I would run my hands over Christin’s hair, or touch Abigail’s face, or study the curves of Sarah’s cheeks, or laugh endlessly with Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, Charlie, Josh, and Justin.

It feels as though I have fulfilled all I was ever suppose to accomplish.

Oh, wouldn’t you agree, life is beautiful.

To hear Sharon talk of Laura tonight…she still remains one of, if not the most, beautiful and amazing girl I’ve ever come across.

I’m going to pray to my God now, because…life is beautiful!

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November 29, 1998 – Sunday – 10:40 p.m.

“Fall is walking us into a cold December wind.”

Oh, but my heart has never been warmer.  I spent the day with Sterling and Christen, though it felt like Jesus was there with us the whole time.  We went out to eat and then decorated Christen’s Christmas tree.  Sterling and I went shopping and then the three of us went to see Kathy Troccoli in concert.  Sterling and Christen were able to get her autograph.  The whole day was just filled with priceless memories.  It felt as though we never stopped laughing.  Even spilling strawberry cheesecake all over my pants was delightful, and Sterling and I have this little game where we look at each other and then run and stand in a place we’ve never stood before, then make a pose.

Life is unbelievably grand.  Jesus gives me a constant smile, and the fact that my smile is slightly crooked just blesses me all the more!

October 22, 1998 – Thursday – 10:00 p.m.

I talked with Sharon tonight. Snow was in the air over Avery County this morning.  I wasn’t there to see it. October 27th was the first snowfall of my last LMC winter.  I didn’t realize how true that statement was when I wrote it nearly a year ago.

I’ve realized when I write these words in these spiral-bound books that they will never go away.  All 13 books are in my sight at this moment.  They sit on a shelf in my closet in front of me.  They are a record of nearly the past six years of my life.

I put Christmas lights up in my room this evening, and it caused me to miss the wintery feel of Banner Elk so much.  So, another day is closing.  One of the final ones for Tammie and Jose in this land.

I turned in four copies of the first draft of “Eyebrows” to the school’s team of producers yesterday.  They said I was the first of the final four to turn it in.  They seemed pleased and impressed.

And so God moves me on.  My memories fight with the present moment every day.  My heart questions why we can’t go back, but it also longs to see what is ahead.

I have no one to really talk to here.  I miss Vince and our deep talks to Counting Crows’ “August and Everything After.”  We had a ritual.  We would start with track four, “Perfect Blue Buildings,” and play it through to the end.  We would turn off the lights and stare up at his glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, most of which were placed there by Laura, and we’d talk of God, love, and beauty until the midnight hour.

I miss Dan and I pondering over the questions of life while playing “Tetris 2” on the Super Nintendo.

I miss riding in Curtis’ car and staring out the window in deep thought.  He’s always ask me what was on my mind.  I’d always tell him.  I felt listened to.

I miss Allen disagreeing with my way of thinking.  He’d ask my advice and then go do the opposite.  But somehow it still made me feel loved by him.

And I miss Charlie, the one I’ve known the longest.

But God needs me elsewhere.  His breath is blowing me forward.  So, I continue and I do this not for me, for all I want is heaven, but God asks me to wait and spend more time with his creation first.

I cannot argue with that.  So that is what I will do.

But how can I live in today when I long for the past?  How can I make new friends when all I want are my old ones?  How can I help save others from a world I can’t admit I’m in?

Why did you make me this way God?  To find comfort in asking questions and not needing the answers.  Is that what faith is?  I don’t need the answers Lord, I just need to know you are listening.

I miss you.  I miss the eyes I’ve never seen.  You comfort me more than my memories and my Teddy Bear from Tenielle.  I want to hold you instead as I fall asleep.  Be with me tonight sweet Jesus, and take me to be with you.  I want to awake in heaven, but if I’m here tomorrow, I will laugh and play in your love.

Heaven feels closer tonight.

How perfect your grace is.

September 20, 1998 – Sunday – 8:28 p.m.

My life has gone on a crazy ride recently.  To begin, my Communication Theory class blew my mind.  God is definitely using this class to deal with the way I think and see the world.  Perhaps I’ll go into detail with that later.

I worked Wednesday afternoon and that night we had drama practice.  It went okay, but these kids really have no idea of how to do this thing, but I guess it’s my job to teach them.  Nevertheless, we all had fun.

Sometimes at Regent I feel like I just don’t fit in.  There is a Law School and a Theology School and I feel like some of those students in their suits walk by and judge me and my duck-taped sandals.

I worked all day Friday, it was a bit rough.  I just wasn’t happy with all that was around me.  But once I got off work, all that changed.

Dawn, a coworker, needed a ride home.  She’s insanely beautiful and a lot of fun, she actually reminds me Emily.  Well, I was taking her home and she wanted to stop and get some pepperoni rolls at a nearby bakery, so we did.  We ate there together and talked and it was just simple fun.  I shared a meal with an insanely beautiful girl and sometimes that is all a man needs to make it through the week.  We drove to her house, and I was just being me, you know the one that often feels like he doesn’t fit in at Regent, and she was just cracking up a storm, telling me I was the funniest thing in the world.

Thank you Dawn!  You saved my life that day.

Then, I went back to Regent to watch some of the student films that were being screened.  I saw three and they were all pretty good.  Then I left to go watch One True Thing at the Regal Cinemas.  That movie changed my whole perspective.

One day, my own mom is going to start dying.  I love her so much and that day is many years away, but still, we will all die one day.  And the movie taught me that I have so much here in Virginia Beach to love and care about.

I haven’t been doing that well enough.

I cried the entire way home from the movie.  I just a big baby in the car.  I didn’t like who I was and I wanted to change.  I asked God to forgive me.

I arrived home, slept, and got up early yesterday morning and left with some members of the youth group to go to King’s Dominion.  I spent most of the day with our leaders Tammy and Jose, as well as Kimberly and Lauren.  Kim is 15 and Laura is 13 and we eventually split off and it was just Kimberly and Lauren and me.  And I had the best day with those two.

I just loved whatever was around me.  Kim and Lauren and I talked the entire day.  I was a 22-year-old graduate student who got to feel 14 again.  God was giving me a gift and I was reminded of who I was and what I’m called to.  God knows me better than I know myself.

Kimberley reminded me a lot of Ryan, my first crush, and Kimberley said I make everything so much fun that she wants to do everything with me now, even shopping.  Lauren was an absolute sweetheart and I now have two dear new friends.

What a lovely thing that is, a friend.

One True Thing revealed to me how I had needlessly complicated my life.  I’d forgotten about the simple sounds, simply joys, simple tastes, and simple smiles of the good life.

On Saturday, September 19, 1998, I became young again.

September 13, 1998 – Sunday – 8:39 a.m.

Today is my mother’s birthday.  She turns 45.  I just called her.  She has a job working for the city, and Henry is going to class and working part-time at the local Wal-Mart.  I’m sure this would make no sense to the world.  Henry had a great job as a detective at UNC and now he is pushing carts.  But they are not of this world and he is where God wants him to be.

Nate is now in 8th grade.  I switched schools in 6th grade and that was rough, I’m sure switching in 8th grade is even more difficult.

Mom says they will stay down there for Thanksgiving.  She wants us to come down, but I’ve already made plans, so I can’t.

Yesterday after work I auditioned for a sci-fi film being produced independently by some Regent students.  It is something they hope to sell and turn into a series.  Call backs are next Wednesday; we’ll see.  The audition was so much fun.  I do love this stuff.

Yesterday I saw two movies, Rounders and Simon Birch.  They were both fantastic!  Sitting behind me in the theater was a huge group of guy friends and it made me miss Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Justin, Charlie, and Josh so much.  I just miss laughing with them and letting the world fade away.

 

September 12, 1998 – Saturday – 9:08 a.m.

The 20th anniversary of Regent University is being celebrated.  I went to the convocation yesterday.  Dr. Jack Hayford spoke, as well as Pat Robertson.  It was a moving ceremony.

I am working this Saturday in just a few minutes, so I can have next Saturday off in order to go to King’s Dominion.  Youth church was awesome last night.  I had such a good time in worship.

My film audition for Saturday Despair was kind of weird on Thursday.  I have another audition today after work.

There is a lot going on, but I have yet to find some really close friends.  That takes time though.

I spent a couple of hours hanging out with Nicole the other night.  She seems really lonely as well.  She’s 24 and this is her first time away from home.

I received two amazing letters from Emily yesterday.  She is the sweetest thing on this planet.

Sarah hasn’t emailed me in nearly two weeks.

Jeni and Abigail just had birthdays, and it’s the 12th of September again.  Yesterday was a historical day in Washington D.C., but I forgive our President.

I talked with Colleen yesterday.  She reminds me so much of Jessica.  She loves the outdoors.  We talked about going camping some time soon.

Thank you for your love God.  Thanks for using me.  You are my everything.

August 14, 1998 – Friday – 3:00 p.m.

I have the day off and I am sitting alone facing the Atlantic Ocean.  I have discovered the beach for locals, it’s called Sandbridge, and no longer venture to the tourist trap that is Virginia Beach actual.  It is a beautiful day.  The waves are too powerful and no one is allowed in the water.  I just went for a walk and my steps joined in harmony with the crashing waves and the snapping bubbles of the surf.  I sang praises to my Lord and felt my Jesus with me.

The past two days of work were nice, and David and I visited Cindy’s on Wednesday night and enjoyed some yummy pizza.  Oh, and yesterday I called Lindy, and the two of us had the best conversation in the world.

I miss her.

I want her to come and see me.

So, here I am.  I will turn 22 after this weekend, I’ve experienced the beginnings of wonderful new friendships, and I’m facing a body of water that touches Africa, a land from which I have just returned.  And I’m about to start film school!

David has complimented me many times on how well I fit in with all the different groups of people.  Yet, he also says that when I blend in, I do it without changing who I am.

Wow, 19 pelican just flew over my head, all in a straight line.  Perhaps one day I can blend in with them and fly away.

But it is nice to have this sand, this earth, while I can.  I’ll be able to fly some day, but it is not now.  Now, I have the joy of sitting in complete peace with myself.  I can’t believe the world is full of so much beauty and so much love.

I love you God.

I love you.